After getting knocked out of Game 4 with a hand laceration — a moment cited as a significant turning point — Detroit forward Luke Glendening will be back in the lineup for Game 5 in Tampa Bay on Saturday, the Red Wings confirmed.
Glendening, 25, has been an instrumental figure this series, scoring two goals in four games while averaging nearly 16 minutes per night. How important has he been? Well, several people said his departure on Thursday — he left with the Wings leading 2-0 — essentially turned the game on its head.
Just ask Wings head coach Mike Babcock (courtesy the Free Press):
Glendening went out of the game and everything unraveled. All three of Tampa Bay’s goals were scored by Tyler Johnson’s line, which Glendening’s line had shut out in Joe Louis Arena until that point.
“Obviously, it was the big play in the game,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said of losing Glendening. “I really felt we should be going on the power play there, but I can’t control those things. Obviously, getting his hand cut and missing the rest of the game, matchupwise, Johnson’s line got the next three goals.”
And if that doesn’t do it for you, ask Tampa Bay bench boss Jon Cooper:
Glendening has played fantastic in this series, which came as no surprise to Cooper.
“I’ve watched him in the minors,” Cooper said. “I’ve watched him play when they unfortunately beat us in the Calder Cup and he’s – I don’t know how to describe him. He’s an extremely responsible player, and there’s not a lot of guys out there like the Glendenings. He’s done a heck of a job on our guys.”
Cooper wasn’t done with his praise there, either.
“They lost a player that plays an extremely important role for them,” he explained. “You look back now and we came back to win the game, so it was potentially a huge factor.
“He’s a good player for them, so there’s no question that it had an effect.”